On January 5, 2011 the state of New Jersey enacted a law requiring all professional fertilizer applicators and lawn care providers to undergo training and become certified through the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University. You can learn more about this at the Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certification and Training website here.
Once certified, an applicator needs eight continuing education credits every five years to maintain the certification. If you’re an applicator, you can receive the necessary eight credits at the New Jersey Fertilizer Recertification Program on December 14, 2017 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The cost is $145.
One of the things a certified applicator must know are the “blackout dates” when fertilizer cannot be applied. These restrictions are due to a greater risk of ground water contamination when the ground is frozen. The dates are as follows:
Homeowners: You cannot apply fertilizer after November 15 and before March 1 in any calendar year.
Commercial Fertilizer Applicators: You must complete your customer service cycle of late fall nitrogen or phosphorus fertilization by December 1 and then fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus cannot be applied again until March 1.
All other materials, such as products containing potassium, lime and composts, are still legal to apply during the blackout dates.
For more information, please visit the NJDEP website here.